Harlan Still & Koch

Obtaining SSDI benefits for heart disease

Heart disease afflicts many Missourians and interferes with their ability to carry out the functions and duties of their jobs. In many cases, heart disease can provide the basis for an award of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. This post will provide an overview of the various kinds of heart disease that may establish the basis for a successful SSD claim.

The SSA includes all forms of heart disease under the term "cardiovascular impairment." A cardiovascular impairment is any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the circulatory system, including arteries, veins, capillaries and lymphatic drainage). Cardiovascular impairment is the result of one or more kinds of heart disease: chronic heart failure, pain caused by myocardial ischemia (blockage of the arteries of the heart), syncope (an obstruction of blood flow or disturbance in the heart's rhythm) and reduced oxygen concentration in the blood. Cardiovascular impairment also includes disorders of the veins or arteries such as obstruction, rupture or aneurysm.

A cardiovascular impairment must be persistent, that is, the clinical record shows that the required symptoms have been or are expected to be present for a continuous period of 12 months. The SSA considers a variety of tests in assessing the severity of a cardiovascular impairment, including an electrocardiogram and exercise tolerance test (sometimes called a "stress test"). Because heart disease comes in so many forms, the SSA has enacted detailed regulations to deal with each specific condition.

Anyone who is considering filing a claim for SSD benefits based upon chronic heart disease may wish to consult a lawyer who specializes in handling SSD claims for an evaluation of the case, assistance in assembling necessary medical and employment records and filing an appeal if the initial claim should be denied.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security - 4.00 Cardiovascular System - Adult," accessed on Nov. 26, 2016

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